The Top 10 Recruitment and Staffing Trends To Watch Out For in 2017

From Brexit, Donald Trump to losing David Bowie and other Mega Stars, many will agree that 2016 was a tumultuous year. Now that we’re at the start of 2017, we can’t help but wonder who or what is going to shake things up this year. (Anyone else hoping for a less dramatic 2017?)

Nevertheless, it’s always wise to stay on top of what’s coming and strategize accordingly. The way we see it, it’s our job to keep you at the forefront of recruiting trends, so here’s a quick run-down of predictions and trends that will dominate the recruitment space this year (in no particular order):

1. Mobile Recruiting

Don’t roll your eyes at this one. Mobile is here to stay and it’s definitely going to be here for the long haul.

Mobile job search is mainstream. We can do practically everything on mobile now and job seekers are leveraging on the convenience of mobile. According to Pew Research Center,  94% of smartphone job seekers have browsed or researched jobs on smartphones. How does your job application pages look? - is it ugly? Can they read the text and click on the apply button easily? In short: is your application process mobile friendly?

Every visitor to your website is a potential job applicant and they have no qualms about rejecting a terrible mobile experience. Once the application process becomes onerous, they drop off and move on.

Get on it: Don’t hold potential candidates back from finding his or her dream job on-the-go, make sure your website is mobile-responsive on all popular devices and that the job application process is fuss-free.

2. Social Recruitment

Mobile recruiting without social media is like a recruiter without a phone. In a recent study by LinkedIn, recruitment firms revealed that social professional networks are the top channels for quality hires.

Simply posting jobs across all your social channels is so 2016. If your Twitter feed is just a constant stream of jobs, no one is going to pay attention because it’s not engaging. There is no content and candidates are eventually going to ignore it because there is no value.

Recruitment firms are turning to social networks to build relationships with candidates and source both active and passive talent. Apart from posting jobs, how else are you leveraging social networks?

It might be worth the while to put a little bit more thought into your social strategy. It takes commitment but the results (a.k.a a huge talent community to dig into) will be worth it in the long run.

A quick win is to start curating a regular stream of content and share it.  Use visuals to accompany your posts and make it eye-catching and engaging.

(This leads us nicely into the next point…)

3. Recruitment Marketing

2017 is all about building relationships...and the smarter companies are starting to realise that recruiting is like marketing. From building a brand presence, to attracting applicants candidates through various advertising channels, to nurturing candidates and moving them through a talent acquisition funnel. Constant engagement.

As described aptly by Greg Savage in his blog, “It’s a seduction. A romance.

In fact, he also said “Any recruitment business model that relies on candidates making proactive applications for jobs is destined to fail.” (Mind you, he wrote that article in 2015. What great foresight!)

It’s time for recruiters to keep up with the evolving behaviours of today’s job seekers and start engaging actively. With a good database, recruiters can run highly targeted marketing campaigns segmented by skills, jobs, locations or even interests. Understanding your talent pool and reaching out strategically with relevant (and creative) content is the best way to ‘seduce’ them and make successful placements.

4. The Gig Economy

‘Flex economy’ or the ‘gig economy’, whatever you call it, a new class of Talent is on the rise - think freelancers, contract workers or simply ‘Temps’.

What you need to know is this: thanks to technology, workers are able to accept a range of freelance opportunities, from anywhere around the globe. Is it a threat to recruiters? Possibly.

Depending on your business, some of you might be going head-to-head with digital platforms like Upwork and Your ability to complete comes down to 2 things: 1) how fast you can deliver candidates 2) quality of candidates.

You’ll need to make it fast and easy to get your client’s business, so perhaps the trick here is to start working on engagement and fill your pipelines with qualified (or should I say gig-ready) candidates!

5. Diversity in Recruitment

Workplace diversity (or the lack of it) has gained a lot of attention in the second half of 2016 and we think there will be an increased focus on addressing this issue. Although workplace diversity is a challenge to be tackled by workforce and talent acquisition leaders per se, agency recruiters should also consider how they can better attract and recruit minorities for their clients.

A survey by SHRM found that 57% of recruiters said that their talent acquisition strategies are designed to attract diverse candidates. Are you ready for diversity recruitment?

6. AI for Recruiting

Have you met Mya? If not, let me introduce you.

Mya is an automated recruiting assistant that sits on a website like a 24-hour chat box and can answer any questions candidates ask about the employer/job, including topics about company policies culture, benefits and even the hiring process.  When she can’t answer a question, she queries the recruiter, gets back to the candidate, and learns how to respond the next time.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer a sci-fi story, today it lives in many applications.

Recruiters can outsource administrative tasks like candidate screening, follow-ups and onboarding to AI and make life a whole lot easier. (For a full list of what AI can do for recruitment, check out this great piece by Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.)

Mya is just one of the many tools that has been developed for talent acquisition, and there are many sexy tools out there touting AI functionalities - but whether they are true AI or not begs another question. Hype or reality for 2017? You tell me.

For those of you still catching up on the basics of AI, read  Crystal Miller Lay’s post on ‘Lions, Tigers & AI Oh My! Exploring HR Tech Fairytales.’

7. Investment in Recruitment Tech

When asked “What is your average time to place?”, 83% of respondents in this LinkedIn survey said that their average time to place is less than two months. With the powerful functionalities recruitment CRMs today can offer, we’re not surprised.

To keep up with the speed and volume of placements, recruiters need to find ways to automate the recruitment process and close candidates quickly. Automation will become a necessity.  Recruitment firms will need to balance the increase in placements, volume and workload by investing in new tools and initiatives to reduce admin-heavy and time-consuming tasks for their consultants.

Ask yourself this: Is it time for an upgrade? Are you looking at new recruiting tools to help your consultants make better, faster placements?

8. Vendors becomes Partners

When it comes to recruitment technology, features matter...but it’s not always about the features.  When you sign up for a software, are you thinking hard about the kind of ‘partnerships’ you’re going into?

Your relationship with your tech provider matters. Is it a partnership or a contract? Are you getting the support you deserve? Is your vendor willing to understand your business challenges and goals, and collaborates with you to develop a solution? Can you vote on features and, do you have any influence on the product roadmap?

A partner focuses on enhancing efficiencies and improving the user experience to help you make more placements. You need a partner that is capable of innovating to match the industry's needs and most importantly, your needs as you grow.

Are you getting value out for what you’re paying? If the answer is not a definite ‘yes’, it might be time to start searching for a new provider.

Need help with looking for the right tech partner for your business? Use this checklist: ‘5 Questions Recruitment Vendors Hate’

9. Focus on Analytics

When recruitment firms were asked “What is the current breakdown of your recruiting budget?”, LinkedIn revealed that 80% of their spend is dedicated to job ads, sourcing tools and business development. That’s a lot of money spent on candidate here’s a question for you: do you know which of these sources are giving you the best ROI?... Or are you flying blind?

Recruitment analytics grant recruitment owners and managers the power to make smarter decisions by providing insights on what’s working and what’s not. Those pie charts and bar graphs reports that you have? They are inadequate. If you’re serious about scaling your business in 2017, you need more than just static numbers:

  • If KPI is your thing, then do you have access to a real-time overview of how your consultants are performing?

  • Do you have a visual breakdown of your candidate sources, the amount of traffic you’re getting from each and how many new candidates have applied?

  • What is the $$ value of candidate activities in the current recruitment pipeline?

  • When are placements going to be made...when will you get paid and how much?

Psst...hungry for more data?  We don’t usually like to toot our own horn but we’ve built some of the industry’s best dashboards to help run your recruitment business. Play with the live dashboards here.

10. Get Back to Basics

All the talk about AI, technology and automation is exciting, but let’s not forget that recruitment is fundamentally a people-to-people business.

Recruiters still play an integral role in connecting, communicating and engaging with candidates. No machine will be able to replace the human part of recruitment.  In 2017, we predict that we will see recruitment businesses investing efforts in building better candidate experiences and putting a little more ‘human’ back into the process. Technology has to be always kept in balance between the needs of the business for efficiency and visibility and also the experience of candidates.

There are parts of recruitment that should be automated but not at the expense of human touch. Talent is not an online commodity. You cannot treat Talent like you do buying roses, books or CDs or music which you can download at the click of a button because they are commodities. If I want to buy the latest Coldplay album, I’m going to get the latest Coldplay album, there is no need to talk to anyone about it. But if i’m going to talk to someone about accepting a counter-offer from an employer, that is a nuanced discussion and takes human influence… and technology is not going to solve that for a long time.” - Greg Savage

Which of these recruitment trends are you interested in most? Are there any huge trends you think we’ve missed out? Let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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